Most days, I don’t go around feelin’ all feministy. The older I get, the less touchy I get about things that some women are extremely touchy about. Please don’t misunderstand: I’m absolutely a feminist. But I’m taking a longer view, watching the arc bend toward justice, and trying to be more charitable toward the entire human race, not just women.

That makes no sense. But here’s where I’m going with it:

Even with this mellow outlook, I can still be prodded to incandescent heights of rage from time to time. This week was one of them. The catalysts, in order:

Larry Nassar’s boss. William Strampel, the former dean of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, has been primarily known so far as the man who told the perp in the biggest institutional sex-abuse case in god-knows-how-long that he was doing a great job, and keep doin’ what you’re doin’. Which makes him look like a twit, but this week new charges were filed against him, and now he looks like another monster from the same mold:

Four women told investigators that, while they were medical students at MSU, Dr. William Derkey Strampel, 70 either sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them, court records say. The women said he made sexually inappropriate comments, groped them and appeared to offer them favorable treatment in exchange for sexual acts.

He also had plenty-plenty porn on his office computer. Police said many of the photos appeared to be of MSU students, likely the same medical students whose lives he was making miserable. If you read the story, Strampel comes across as a 70-year-old man who combines the arrogance of too many medical professionals with the sensibilities of the Mad Men era. He grabbed asses, eyed women up and down while they stood in front of him, and oh yeah he was a bully, too:

In 2011, a woman identified as Victim 2 fell asleep in class and Strampel summoned her to his office later. He told her not to sit down but to turn around twice so he could observe her body, she told police, before going on a rant degrading her body.

The woman told police Strampel told her she needed to dress sexier if she wanted to advance in her profession. The conversation lasted about an hour and Strampel never brought up a reason for the meeting.

For anyone likely to cut this guy slack because it’s a different era now or whatever, please consider that there’s probably no group in America who’s had more training on the subject of sexual harassment than academics. Which means this geezer just plain thought he could do whatever the hell he wanted and get away with it, more or less forever.

You wonder how people like Nassar get away with it for so long? It helps to have bosses like this.

Then the Atlantic hired Kevin Williamson.

You might know Williamson as a troll-y scribe for National Review, the conservative magazine. It’s safe to say that getting beamed up to the more mainstream Atlantic is a big career move. A few years ago, and not that many, Williamson got into a tweet-spat about abortion and the appropriate punishments for doing or having one. Unlike most right-to-lifers, who like to tell women they’re “the other victim” of the procedure, Williamson took off the gloves and got right to the point: Women who have abortions should be executed, he said. Painfully, perhaps by hanging.

He has deleted the tweets, but never retracted the statements. Women having a legal procedure he disapproves of should be executed painfully. That’s what Kevin Williamson said, and apparently still believes. So of course he’s working for a high-profile national magazine now.

Ask yourself how likely this would be if Williamson had expressed similar thoughts about African Americans, or any other group of people in this country. Ask yourself why this sort of statement is acceptable. If that’s too depressing, amuse yourself by considering, first, how common this belief is among virulent abortion opponents (it really is) and how much the very same people are clutching their pearls over some of the potty-mouthing coming from the Parkland kids. Oliver Willis puts it plainly:

Jessica Valenti gets it:

How can you say that you want a workplace that values women when you hire someone who wants 25% of those women dead? How can you lead in a newsroom when your female subordinates now know that you consider their lives worth less than the clicks you’ll generate from a handful of articles?

I have had two abortions — one when I was younger and not ready to be a parent, another when I was a mother who desperately wanted more children but doing so could put my life at risk. I do not believe I should die because of this. I cannot believe that I need to write that sentence.

Any time I have written or spoken publicly my abortions, I have been threatened with death — and I’m far from alone. Women are terrorized about their reproductive decisions — whether it’s threats online or the increasingly frenzied violence against abortion providers and clinics. And, of course, it was just over two years ago that a shooter killed three people and injured nine others at a Colorado Planned Parenthood, screaming about “baby parts” — rhetoric directly taken from conservative writers.

By hiring Williamson, The Atlantic is sending a clear message: That the worst kind of harassment and intimidation women face — extremism that has been directly linked to real life violence — is acceptable. And that it’s more valuable to the magazine than the women who read it or work at there.

Yup. So right now I’m feeling real feministy. How do you feel?

Posted at 12:48 pm in Current events, Media |

92 responses to “Dander”

  1. Scout said on March 28, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I’m feeling mad as hell about a variety of things, Williamson being one of them. The attacks on the Parkland students, the NRA and its enablers, Joe Arpaio, the hoards of MAGAts who have been emboldened to crawl out from under their rocks to strut and flaunt their ugliness and hatred, black men being murdered by cops, Bernie and his dipshit fan club… and at the top of the list, the nasty racist misogynist who is stomping all over everything like a demented bull.

    Yesterday I commented on tweet by Chelsea Handler about the March For Our Lives and ever since then my notifications have been swarmed by MAGAts and NRA cockroaches. Ugh. I’m so sick of this shit. Time for a social media break.

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  2. alex said on March 28, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    The only time Trump ever apologized — ever in his whole fucking worthless life — was when he thought he’d score some cheap points with the right by promising punishment for women who’ve had abortions. Not sure who got it through his thick skull that this was the wrong thing to say, but he walked it back and narrowly saved his ass.

    The Atlantic is as hard up for subscribers as anyone these days. What the fuck were they thinking?

    And Oliver Willis perfectly describes what happens too often at NN.C. when trolls fly by.

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  3. Bitter Scribe said on March 28, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    I think Williamson got the Atlantic job for the same reason that Ross Douthat, Bret Stephens, etc. got theirs: because he is one of the few remaining conservatives still willing to shit on Donald Trump. Talk about a low bar.

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  4. Sherri said on March 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Never Trump conservatives get jobs in the name of “ideological diversity.” None of those publications would hire a Black Lives Matter writer or a Palestinian writer in the name of ideological diversity.

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  5. nancy said on March 28, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    What Sherri said. I’ve seen this happen many times, usually from the inside. It’s affirmative action.

    And I always thought Trump walked back his remarks on punishing women for getting abortions because he knows how many he’s paid for.

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  6. Joe Kobiela said on March 28, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks I’ll take that as a compliment.
    Pilot Joe 🙂

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  7. Deborah said on March 28, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I’m so steamed, there are no words.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on March 28, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    When I saw the Strampel story I started shouting at the poor, innocent TV. A big part of it was his smug face and relaxed demeanor at his arraignment. MSU needs to clean house but they don’t seem to get it. Just like almost every other institution in our society.

    I’m still waiting for those who Trump forced abortions on to come forward. Like Nancy, I know they are out there.

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  9. Heather said on March 28, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Average feministy level for 2018: white-hot rage.

    I wonder if the Atlantic would hire a woman who had advocated for men being executed for raping and abusing women. Can’t see it.

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  10. Heather said on March 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Does Joe realize he just admitted his arguments are bullshit?

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  11. Peter said on March 28, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Oh sure, let me throw another log on the rage fire, but I think I saw that MSU paid $500,000.00 to some media firms to monitor the online accounts of some of the Nassar accusers.

    And yesterday I stumbled across an article about MSU was really chummy with the Vietnamese in the early ’60’s and got federal funds for it….

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  12. Dexter said on March 28, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    That arrogant sonuvabitch Strampel is above Nassar on this ladder of shame and creepiness. I used to hate MSU because they couldn’t even be honest in sports, cheating by hiring crooked guys like “scoreboard Bob” to fix games. This sex scandal ups my hatred for the entire institution by an infinite factor. Now it’s right there with Sandusky-era Penn State. But PSU has swept out the place, torn down the statue, risen as a phoenix from the mucked-up ashes. MSU will attempt to use PSU as a role model in disaster control, but the stench from East Lansing is powerful. I have always considered myself a feminist but in an inactive way, just in my opinion-bank; I never march or wear ribbons. I don’t know how anyone could hate child sexual abuse more than I hate it, except victims, and it’s hard to empathize with kids and women who are victims because the abuse is so horrible. Non-victims can try, but to realize the damage without having been there is impossible, I believe. All I can do is state my feelings, and I hope Strampel gets thrown down in the hole with the rest of “them”.

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  13. Scout said on March 28, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    @ Joe: It wasn’t. Bless your heart, though.

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  14. beb said on March 28, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    I was surprised when Stempel was arrested but when I heard what he was accused of I only nodded my head and think, ‘it’s a fair cop,’ Nancy’s right, MSU needs to clean house.

    The Keith Williamson hire follows closely a couple of New York Times op-ed hires of rwnj’s like Williamson. In all these cases the justification given is that the editor was looking for diversity and writing that challenges the readers preconception. Except it seems that most of the op-ed writers of a similar right-wong ideology. Neither the Times or The Atlantic ever consider offering leftist articles, arguing against free capitalism, or for gun control, for taxing the wealthy aggressively and so on.

    I’m fascinated by the level of outrage Trump has about the Stormy Daniels story. For a man who claims he can just grab women by the kitty cat he is sure upset. Nomoremrniceguy suggests that what upsets Trump is that he’s not in control of the story. Trump doesn’t seem like a guy to worries about having an adulterous affair. He doesn’t seem like the sort to worry about paying hush money. So it must be because Daniels is the one in control of this story. Either that or Trump’s affair nullifies his pre-nup with Melania making it possible for her to sue him for half his worth… It would be curious to know.

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  15. Joe Kobiela said on March 28, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks Scout,
    Believe it or not I know what you mean, by bless your heart, right back at you sweetie.
    Pilot Joe

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  16. David C. said on March 28, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    Is the MSU Board of Regents or Trustees or whatever they call themselves elected or appointed? I know they were elected when I lived in Michigan, but they sure aren’t acting like they have any fear of being turfed out. I can’t fathom anyone thinking hiring John Engler to clean house is a good idea unless the house if full of poor people. Isn’t it fortunate for those who need to lose their jobs that they’re rich and powerful? Funny how that always seems to happen.

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  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 28, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    I probably read more “National Review” than most here, and I still can’t quite figure out where Williamson is coming from. J.D. Vance makes a certain sort of sense to me, but not him. If you’re curious what he was saying/did say:


    The fact that he and Coates have an ongoing dialogue is probably most of the “why” here.

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  18. Suzanne said on March 28, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Aaaaand another one bites the dust. The head of the VA, Shulkin. At this point, I am sure that we will soon have the lunatics running the government because no one with half a sane brain would want to work for these people at this point.

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  19. Linda said on March 28, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Nancy, I am your age. I think the reason most ladies of a certain age get less edgy about their feminism is that if we thought hard about how much contempt there is in the world towards women at every turn, we would be consumed by rage. Who could live like that? We rationalize to mentally survive.

    The young’ns, in Parkland and elsewhere, have not been worn down or burnt out. They haven’t lived long enough to rationalize the bullshit right before their eyes. And this indeed makes bad faith, game playing conservatives pissed off. They are demonizing the kids, or slandering them, or are full of “concern” over their “exploitation” by the left. Ignoring the fact that if the “children” were one year older, they would be fine with them marching off to war.

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  20. Linda said on March 28, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    And JTMMO, why is Coates dialoging with this crumb bum? The left gives moral cover to these bozos when they should tell them to fuck off.

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  21. alex said on March 28, 2018 at 9:28 pm


    You no longer get the benefit of the doubt that you’re a pitiable rube. You’re just a fucking jackass.

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  22. Joe Kobiela said on March 28, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    Ah,come on Alex, you can insult me better than that, I couldn’t even feel that one, you must be slipping in your old age. Try again.

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  23. alex said on March 28, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    You’re spelling better than usual. Kudos.

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  24. LAMary said on March 28, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    The news these days either leaves me enraged or sad. I can’t believe how much we’ve lost. We’re back to racist, sexist shit being acceptable. I think our country is losing the respect and trust of our allies, and really it’s for good reason. Yes, I’m feeling feministy and angry.

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  25. Sherri said on March 29, 2018 at 1:40 am

    You bet I’m feeling feministy and angry. Why do you think I’m spending so much time in the gym picking up heavy shit and putting it back down? Because it’s not a good thing for me to go around punching all the people who deserve it!

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  26. Dexter said on March 29, 2018 at 2:16 am

    I don’t know how long it actually takes for leadership change at the top to affect V.A. participants, but I will say this: Under McDonald’s leadership during the Obama administration, vet-care improved dramatically. Thousands of vets like me heard they were really helping then , and we joined up in flocks. I had no complaints at all. It was great. Then came Trump with his verbiage about improving vet-care. Here’s my case: Doctor visits cut in half. I can only get labs and appointments twice a year now; it was 4 times. Travel pay for lab work has been also halved. They now pay just one way, not round trip. The man in charge of travel pay was retired, no replacement. Now there is a kiosk. The cashier who performed various duties was retired last Friday. She has been replaced by a kiosk also. Many, many other faces I saw there are just gone…all new lab workers, very few clerks at the check-in stations, long waits…doctors are overwhelmed at the workload , no time to ask many questions…re-up the med-charts and get out. It’s changed dramatically in just 3 1/2 years from my observations.
    Will Trump’s personal doctor have a clue? He’s the new V.A. chief. God help us all. I am not hopeful. But, as we all said in the army 49 years ago, “Fuck it…what they gonna do, send us to ‘Nam?” In other words, the fucking worst thing that could possibly happen already happened. Then again, Ho Chi Minh wrote a beautiful poem: GOOD DAYS COMING

    Everything changes, the wheel
    of the law turns without pause.

    After the rain, good weather.

    In the wink of an eye

    The universe throws off
    its muddy cloths.

    For ten thousand miles
    the landscape

    Spreads out like
    a beautiful brocade.

    Gentle sunshine.
    Light breezes. Smiling flowers,

    Hang in the trees, amongst the
    sparkling leaves,

    All the birds sing at once.

    Men and animals rise up reborn.

    What could be more natural?

    After sorrow comes happiness.

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  27. alex said on March 29, 2018 at 6:44 am

    And speaking of arguments made in bad faith, remember when the RWNJ were arguing that Indiana’s “religious freedom” law wasn’t a pretext for discrimination?


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  28. basset said on March 29, 2018 at 7:38 am

    So much anger today.

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  29. Suzanne said on March 29, 2018 at 7:57 am

    My question is this: with tRump’s new found love of Rosanne Barr, will he invite her to the White House to sing the National Anthem and finish by grabbing her own pu$$y? And what do you suppose the reaction would be among the same patriotic sorts who were ready to tar & feather her when she did so years ago at the baseball game?

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  30. Julie Robinson said on March 29, 2018 at 9:45 am

    No, Suzanne, she will not. Women aren’t allowed to grab their own pu$$y. Only men can grab women’s pu$$ies.

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  31. ROGirl said on March 29, 2018 at 9:58 am

    I think she did all this for the publicity, and it’s working.

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  32. Sherri said on March 29, 2018 at 11:56 am

    “No matter who it is, it’s always about the fall of men and never about the women who were just trying to work and do their job and have to endure this over and over and over.”


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  33. A. Riley said on March 29, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Yeah. I remember when I was much younger and realized with a shock that even in this modern age, there were still a good number of men — even educated, polite, respectable, well-brought-up, “nice” men — who really don’t like women, really downright hate women, really don’t think we’re human beings, even as they try to wheedle or pressure women into sex as often as possible.

    What’s it going to take to change that? We’ve been having this discussion for how long? And how much longer until it’s solved?

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  34. Catherine said on March 29, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    How do I feel?

    Like it’s a good day to burn the patriarchy to the ground.

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  35. Scout said on March 29, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    On Roseanne:

    On Laura Ingraham:

    Fuck both of them, sideways. Yeah, I’m pissed.

    MAGAts and NRA cockroaches are an infestation. They’re cults and anyone who is in support of them is beyond any sympathy, understanding or attention. I systematically mute them all on Twitter and further, I will not acknowledge them in comments sections ever again, because feeding them just goes to their tiny little heads.

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  36. Jakash said on March 29, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    #28… Uh, did you read the post, Basset? Have you been paying attention to what’s been going on lately? Anger seems pretty appropriate to me.

    Scout, forgot to say this after I read your first comment yesterday, but here’s another chance. “MAGAt” is a keeper that I’ve not seen (or noticed, at any rate) before. Did you come up with that yourself? Either way, rock on! : )

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  37. Jakash said on March 29, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    We haven’t watched any of the live NBC musicals on TV so far, and I doubt that this will be the first. While my faith hasn’t held up as well as his evidently has, still, as a former altar boy about the same age as Roeper, this “JC Superstar” piece certainly resonated with me. “…it has often been derided as schlocky, sacrilegious, middlebrow claptrap. I don’t care. I’m a major disciple of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.'”


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  38. Sherri said on March 29, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    I’m more Godspell than Superstar. I’m not much of an Andrew Lloyd Webber person in general. I don’t dislike his shows, I just don’t love them.

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  39. Suzanne said on March 29, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Speaking of Superstar, this is interesting: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/29/arts/john-legend-and-the-jesus-christ-superstar-cast-on-faith-and-musicals.html?

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  40. Jolene said on March 29, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    This is a good essay about the Roseanne reboot. I wasn’t particularly a fan of the original show and didn’t see the premier of the new version, but this analysis made me curious about it. May check it out on OnDemand.

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  41. Scout said on March 29, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Jakash – MAGAt just came to me while on a Twitter rant, but I’m guessing I’m not the only person to have made that connection.

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  42. alex said on March 29, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    “In the spirit of Holy Week” Laura Ingraham’s righteous ass gets crucified and it’s about fucking time. Fox ought to fire her for that begrudging apology alone.

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  43. SusanG said on March 29, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Latest on the MSU story


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  44. Jeff Borden said on March 29, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    There’s critical mass building, folks, and the old guard is trembling.

    The Parkland students have terrified the gun nuts and their enablers. Since the massacre, donations to the NRA have tripled. While the gun nuts would say that shows their strength, it really shows their weakness. They see a major philosophical battle in the offing and they want to make sure the American ISIS has plenty of cash to throw into the war against any infringement as record numbers of American say they want reasonable gun control.

    One Parkland student –David Hogg, who was trolled by professional harpy Laura Ingraham– responded to her twitter attacks by calling out her advertisers. So far, five have said they will no longer advertise on her Faux program. That is power. Ingraham, ever the loving Christian, says that “in spirit of Holy Week,” she is sorry for taunting the kid. Fuck her.

    Meanwhile, the second women’s march in January drew almost as many people as the first march the day after the Orange King’s inauguration. We were among some 300,000 who walked in Chicago. What was striking to us was how many young girls –junior and high school age– were walking, chanting and carrying signs. They’re already activists. We believe they will remain activists. And that ought to scare the ever-loving bejesus out of conservatives.

    Even as Robert Mueller builds his legal case against the most corrupt, inept, immoral and stupid *president in the history of our nation, it may well be the women he wronged who bring down the orange tub of goo. Stormy Daniels isn’t going away and has a pit bull for lawyer. And the Summer Zervos lawsuit against Hair Twitler is going forward. With luck, the Orange King will be deposed under oath. Given his inability to tell the truth about anything, I predict disaster.

    We should be angry. All of us. Our country is being ravaged by idiots, grifters, creeps and perverts. Our Congress has nothing on Vikund Quisling. But the volcano is rumbling. An eruption is not an if, but a when. I am hopeful a better nation emerges.

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  45. Scout said on March 29, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    Bravo, Jeff. And with that I sail into a three day weekend feeling hopeful. Happy Easter, Passover, National Marshmallow Peep Day or whatever you want to celebrate, all.

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  46. Jeff Borden said on March 29, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks, Scout.

    One last thing: Go Loyola!

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  47. Deborah said on March 29, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I personally am a follower of the marshmallow peeps, have been for years. I liked to put them in my mouth facing out full blown, then I closed my mouth over them and waited until someone walked up to me, then I opened up my mouth and stuck out my tongue with the peep sitting on it. Good times.

    We’ve been at uncle J’s house, since last night going back to Chicago tomorrow morning. Had a big get together tonight with family and friends. Lots of kiddos, it was fun.

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 29, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    Peeps jousting . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMmyQF35e8U

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  49. alex said on March 29, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    The Republicans vying for Joe Donnelly’s senate seat in Indiana are all fucking noxious but this ad hits a new low: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r5QXctM4L8

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  50. LAMary said on March 30, 2018 at 12:01 am

    I used to have next door neighbors who drove a hearse. He was in a metal band and she was a professional dominatrix. They invited us to an Easter brunch once and let my kids roast marshmallow Peeps over the fire in the bbq.

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  51. Dexter said on March 30, 2018 at 2:42 am

    Alice Cooper is so strong these days…something like 36 years sober (cold turkey, no A.A.) , still rockin’, and has the balls to perform JCS live…incredible. I have always been a fan. Not a rabid concert-goer, but a radio fan. I have some albums on Spotify. He’s 70 now, says he feels as well as when he was 45. He had to leave Detroit for Phoenix back when the Phoenix air was fresh and clean…asthma. He was a small boy.

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  52. Dexter said on March 30, 2018 at 2:56 am

    A ne’er-do-well schoolmate of mine bought a beat-up hearse in 1972 when we were 22 and 23 years old. He married a beautiful woman called Joey. They had a baby girl; they lived in an old funeral home. I think it was just pure coincidence, as the hearse was a wreck, therefore cheap, and the old funeral parlor was run-down and dirt cheap rent as well. His name was Joe. Of course, his philandering and his alcoholism cost him his beautiful wife and his daughter. Joey packed up and left forever and for good. The hearse broke down and was junked, and Joe drank. He got a DUI south of town, about 70 miles away, and did a full year in that county jail. He wrote a letter to us, the local bar patrons, saying he had quit alcohol for good: he had seen the light. He was released and someone drove down to retrieve him. Yes, he was plastered that very night. In later years he switched to wine “for my heart”. Low-nicotine smokes too. He died three years ago of a heart attack. It was a fucking miracle he made it to age 65.

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  53. 4dbirds said on March 30, 2018 at 10:21 am

    For you Nancy. You could prolly negotiate some telework to make it work. https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/495428900

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  54. Deborah said on March 30, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    If Nancy took that job, wouldn’t that make her part of the Trump admin? And they’d prolly make her quit her blog.

    We’re back in Chicago. It’s always nice to be home even if it’s only a 2 hour drive and 2 a night stay. My Warby Parker prescription sunglasses were waiting for me in the mailbox, they’re nice, I have to get them adjusted for my head at the store though.

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  55. Sherri said on March 30, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Maybe if she weren’t from a shithole country…


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  56. basset said on March 30, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Joe, check your email…

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  57. Heather said on March 30, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    My favorite Easter candy are the Cadbury Mini Eggs. Glad they are only out once a year.

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  58. Jolene said on March 30, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Sherri, Tim Kaine, Democratic senator from Virginia has taken on the coach’s case. He is hoping to work out some kind of accommodation with the State Department. If I hear anything, I’ll post an update.

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  59. Sherri said on March 30, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Some backstory on Joanne Boyle. She’s very well respected in the women’s basketball community.


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  60. Deborah said on March 30, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Coffee causes cancer? Seriously?

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  61. Suzanne said on March 30, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    If coffee causes cancer, I know so many people who will die, including my husband & brother-in-law.

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  62. David C. said on March 30, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Coffee doesn’t cause cancer or at least doesn’t in any significant way. Any time anyone says “studies show” they’re usually wrong or at best wildly premature – especially food and drink studies. I read a book recently that said unless multiple studies show at least double the risk, don’t worry about it.


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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 30, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Easter blessings to one and all; ran down to pick up my son who was eager to get home for Good Friday services at his mom’s church, for which I am thankful — got a sidewall bulge out of an Athens pothole, for which I am not, but I got home, and the Goodyear folks in Heath took care of me in time to get to our Good Friday, for which I am.

    Easter egg hunts tomorrow at each of our churches, and then sunrise on Sunday at 7 am in a city park overlooking our community, shared by a hatful of churches. Plus I get to do some baptisms to open the main service on Sunday. However you do or don’t mark the first Sunday after the first full moon (and ain’t it lovely tonight?) after the vernal equinox, may hope and peace and new life be yours. I appreciate you all, whether we’re agreeing or otherwise; I’m thankful to be a part of this community, too.

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  64. Suzanne said on March 30, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Blessed Easter, Passover, or whatever you celebrate this weekend to all of you!

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  65. brian stouder said on March 30, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Well said, Jeff. (on edit – and well said, Suzanne!)

    And, I’m still digesting the Hillbilly Elegy book; at the very least, it captures an important social/economic/political dynamic in modern America.

    I think that, politically, voters in America (or any free country) always have the option to do stupid things. California put Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger at the head of their state government, and we might well have put that little guy – Henry Ross Perot – into the White House, 25 years ago.

    I think that practically anyone who has served as a mayor (or council-member) of an American city of a 250,000 people or more, would be much better suited to the presidency of the United States then our current president is.

    Ronald Wilson Reagan – who I voted for back in the day – was (I still say) at least credible, as he had been governor of our biggest and most powerful state (not to mention a Union president).

    By way of saying – I was pulled into a CNN documentary (or whatever) on the Kennedys, and I watched it with fresh eyes. My parents always loved the Kennedys, but I was reminded of a grumpy meat-cutter I worked with (40-plus years ago!) who offered the opinion that Oswald might have saved the country(!).

    I thought the meat-cutter was completely crazy at the time (and I still think that!) – but his deep, visceral unease with our 43-year old martyred president at least makes more sense to me, looking back from 2018.

    By way of saying, once Trump goes down to defeat (and/or impeachment/conviction or impeachment/resignation), the next president we elect will have a full plate and a rare historic opportunity to shine brightly, just for displaying her competence!

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  66. Deborah said on March 30, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    Here’s one of my favorite things to listen to. Especially on a weekend like this one https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IwdeqVmXlHk. I hope you all have a relaxing one.

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  67. susan said on March 30, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Wow, deborah. I’ve never heard that version (also appears in his orchestral Enigma Variations.). What beautiful, clear voices.

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  68. brian stouder said on March 30, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Well, here’s another goody. I drove Pam’s vehicle this evening, to throw away $2 on the mega-millions (or whatever it’s called) lottery, and on her Sirus radio I was enjoying the Pearl Jam station, and heard (a version) of this


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  69. Dexter said on March 31, 2018 at 3:07 am

    Thanks BrianStouder: You know I can’t ever pass on a good rocker, especially a jam-up … I always loathed Rush,but am sad to know they have retired. XM plays different versions of Neil’s song a lot. My XM listening is done on a special XM boombox from about 2007. I called XM inquiring about the app, which, as I figured, would up my bill significantly, so I declined it because I don’t really need it. Then the XM guy told me they’d sent me a free radio for my car ( obligatory S + H charges, of course), and the new ones have some easy-installation procedure, indicating it was a 3-minute job. He said my bill would go up about $15 per month. I will likely decline, even though that is very cheap, because I don’t spend much time in the car, and when I do I pop in cassettes or CDs from the past 38 years…I have stacks of baskets of ’em.

    Easter in Columbus will be held at my son-in-law’s sister’s home in Grove City. My wife is miffed because going there would entail much step-climbing which she just cannot do. Her church (used to be mine also until I dropped out) is stair-less so I am taking her to Easter morning services to fill a gap in her life: she loves Jesus as she also hates the right-wing politics of the farmers and teachers who run the show there. Easter brings joy and flowers and sunshine. Life, and life is to live, so get to it and prosper. Here’s the Easter episode from McHales Navy, a 60s TV show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcUiTI1Yu1I

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  70. Connie said on March 31, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Dexter, I sympathize with your wife. I have graduated to a cane instead of a walker. A few weeks ago I had what was to me a scary experience. I had to walk over about thirty feet of carved memorial fundraising blocks to get to the entrance. My prosthetic foot senses them as a very unlevel tippy surface. It was a slow walk. I should have gone back to my car and gotten my walker.

    Jeff(tmmo)I am always curious about how people believe. Why would a young man choose her church over yours.? What makes them different?

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  71. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 31, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Joyce’s church does contemporary style worship; she was the original worship leader with the founding pastor (United Methodist) from his garage to a middle school auditorium to the converted catering hall they’re in now. She was the team leader for twelve years, stepping down when her mother entered her final illness; now she’s keyboards once a month, leading as a sub — unusually, they still have the same pastor 14 years later, and he and I are good friends and do various projects together. Our son probably has attended more services there than anywhere, but he grew up with four churches he’s considered “part of” (long story, mine, hers, the place where I was staffing when he was a kid and where he went through UMC confirmation, and the Presby church he was in a youth choir for). So he likes traditional worship some, but not as his default preference. He will help set up and serve tomorrow morning in a city park on a hill where we do our sunrise service, and he likes how we do special services (and breakfasts!); we haven’t even discussed it yet, but I’m guessing he’s going with her after to New Life, mostly because I have two more morning services and she just has one.

    In other words, like many American Christians, it has less to do with beliefs per se than it does style. Contemporary style worship creates fewer “barriers to entry” for unchurched people, and has its place; traditional style is becoming more of a niche, but it’s not a tiny niche. But now my son and I have to go “hide” a few thousand Easter eggs for the kids this am! Frosty out there, gahhhh . . .

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  72. Suzanne said on March 31, 2018 at 10:24 am

    The thing with contemporary worship is that it’s not cheap to do. You need instruments, a sound system, often video screens, etc. and people to play the instruments. An organ is expensive to buy, but lasts for a long time and the church only needs one organist. A bad organist is distracting but if everybody sings loud enough, it’s manageable. A bad contemporary church band, well, there is no ignoring that. And I’ve a couple of bad ones.
    Last night, during the service at the church I attended, the organist stopped playing on several verses of the last hymn and the congregation sang unaccompanied in 4 part harmony. It was beautiful.

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  73. Julie Robinson said on March 31, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Deborah, that was beautiful. I have a CD of music like this by a group called Voce, so I wonder if this is another incarnation of that group?

    Suzanne, our organist also does that from time to time, and I always get goosebumps. The stripped down beauty of acapella singing is that you can hear the harmonies and overtones that are missed with accompaniment.

    I sang Were You There last night without accompaniment, and I could hear the reverb coming back to me as I stood in the balcony, in darkness, at the end of the Good Friday service. This has never happened before, but I gave myself goosebumps.

    We have a magnificent pipe organ, a building with incredible acoustics, and one of the finest organists in town. Why would anyone prefer a crappy electronic keyboard to that? And yet, some do, so we have a contemporary service too. To me, it’s like eating toddler food when there’s a gourmet feast waiting.

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  74. Deborah said on March 31, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Jeff tmmo, if I still went to church I’d go to a traditional one, there’s one a few blocks away that we have been to a couple of times for Easter or Christmas Eve, Fourth Pres, It’s across Mich Ave from the Hancock, a beautiful church. My husband has a hard time sitting through any church services so it’s rare. I really, really don’t like contemporary church services. When we go to NYC, we sometimes go to St. Thomas on 5th Ave, it’s Episcopal and the services there are gorgeous. My mother was the church organist before she died when I was a kid, somebody else was the choir director and the choir was usually lousy because of one squawky woman.

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  75. Deborah said on March 31, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Julie, here’s some info about Voces8. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voces8. They’re going to be in the US in the fall (they’re British). They’ll be in Grand Rapids, MI, the closest place to me, I would go there just to see them live.

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  76. Jakash said on March 31, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Yeah, that piece and performance were very nice, indeed, Deborah. “Nimrod,” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations, upon which it’s based, is one of my wife’s favorites and was used in the “Dunkirk” movie soundtrack.

    Here’s my egg-based contribution to today’s thread. I’d call it a tempest in a teapot, but the vessel is even smaller than that. An NYT article exploring the phenomenon of “egg spoons.” Some of the comments accompanying it are swell.

    “Yes, it does cost $250 dollars, but if you amortize it over its lifetime, it only comes out to $250 per use.”

    “I am fairly sure the NYT prints this sort of thing in lieu of comics. This is an amazing mashup of the precious, the absurd, the ridiculous, and the just plain hilarious. Can’t you give us Calvin and Hobbes reruns instead?”


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  77. Deborah said on March 31, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    On my way to do some chores today I walked past some Muslim young people with bunches of flowers, carrying a sign that said, “meet a Muslim”. It was so gratifying. I stopped and told them that I thought what they were doing was wonderful, they tried to give me a flower but I politely declined and told them I had some shopping to do and would have my hands full. Those kids made my day. Kids today, wow, I keep being impressed.

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  78. Deborah said on March 31, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Jakash, I had not heard of Elgar before I heard that piece a year ago. Since then I’ve looked into his work and he has some wonderful stuff. I first heard the Voces8 Lux Aeterna piece when I had my back and foot drop problem and then the surgery last year around this time, I was in a lot of pain and I listened to that over and over again, it gave me comfort.

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  79. Dexter said on March 31, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Connie, the Independence Cleveland Clinic has marble floors in the building that houses the ortho-doctors! It rained hard the day we went and I could not use my walker because I was pushing her wheelchair…then a nurse pushed her and I was walking on wet marble floors with a wet-bottomed cane only. I was as slow as an inchworm. The nurse said the only reason there were mats by the doors was because a doc saw her fall hard on the wet marble last year. Well, now Carla Lee can use her walker and when we go there again in 12 days I damn-sure am bringing mine as well. Imagine that…marble floors for surgical patients to navigate. There oughtta be a law. I am getting shakier every year with my balance and walking.

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  80. Deborah said on March 31, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    This has nothing to do with anything but when I was at uncle J’s house Thursday evening when they were having a get together with family and friends, I kept trying to figure out who one of his little great grand kids looked like, the kid is about 4 yrs old. Just now I figured it out, it’s Sam Nunberg the Trumper clown who was on the news a lot for going ape shit on cable TV shows. Also my husband got his Warby Parker glasses and I realize they are just like Andrew McCabe’s https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_McCabe#/media/File%3AAndrew_G._McCabe.jpg.

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  81. Deborah said on April 1, 2018 at 12:48 am

    Went to the symphony tonight, there was an excellent Leonard Bernstein piece, the Age of Anxiety, the rest was ok, but that was spectacular.

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  82. basset said on April 1, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Nice train ride with Mrs. B yesterday, fifty miles through the mountains northeast of Chattanooga in a 1954 dome car, along the Hiwassee River for some of it.

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  83. Joe Kobiela said on April 1, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Re send the e-mail I deleted it by accident.
    Pilot Joe

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  84. Mark P said on April 1, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Basset, was the train behind a steam engine? The Tennessee Valley RR Museum has an old steam engine that I actually rode in way back when I was a reporter. I mean inside the cab. I posted about that ride a while ago (http://www.caniconfidimus.com/2018/03/02/memories-of-steam/).

    As to coffee causing cancer, well, yeah, sure, living causes cancer. What they don’t usually tell you when they say that X doubles the risk of some type of cancer is the actual risk of getting that cancer. If the risk is 0.01 percent for the general population and the risk doubles, it’s still only 0.02 percent. Also, it’s almost impossible to know anything about the actual study results without looking at the actual study. The news reports, even the press releases from the institution where the study was performed, are almost always useless. Mark Liberman sometimes does very good takedowns on that type of story at http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/. He also does some good takedowns of the studies themselves. I recommend that group blog for anyone interested in language.

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  85. basset said on April 1, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Joe, I have sent mail again.

    Mark P, this was a diesel train but it belonged to the same organization… no coal or water supply for steam trains along this route, out the Hiwassee from Etowah and around Bald Mountain.


    The dome car and dark green Southern RR coach from the top picture were on our trip, 5 cars total and a different engine.

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  86. Colleen said on April 1, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    I am very feministy. I am sick of old white men opining on everything with their entitled and smug tone. I just got off a lovely cruise where my fellow travelers skewed old. I overheard so many old white men talking. They don’t converse as much as they proclaim. Tired of it. And encouraged by young people, such as the Parkland kids.

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  87. Deborah said on April 1, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Have any of you ever gotten away with a good April Fools joke? I try every year but I usually don’t pull it off. One year when W was pres I told my husband that Cheney had died, he fell for it. This year I tried to tell him that Melania was filing for divorce, he didn’t bite.

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  88. Suzanne said on April 1, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Colleen, yes on the old white men. I just finished Easter dinner with my family and my brother is getting on my last nerve. He’s white and retired and knows everything about everything so don’t bother to converse. His mind is a closed trap. If you tell him about an interesting book you just read and what it was about, he’ll usually tell you that the book is wrong in it’s conclusions. I mainly just avoided him.

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  89. Dave said on April 1, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Picky, picky, picky, Mark P. You run trains, you don’t drive them. Over in the UK, they drive them but I’ve never heard a North American railroader say they drive trains. That always grates on me, even though it shouldn’t.

    I saw 4501 in Bellevue, OH, way back in 1973.

    Most of my siblings think like those old white men and they’re both male and female. I just want to scream but in the interest of family peace, I restrain myself. Still . . .

    Retired engineer (RR) 😉

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  90. David C. said on April 1, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    The best strategy for April Fool’s jokes is to tell them on the 2nd. A good joke should keep for a day.

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  91. basset said on April 1, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    I’m an old white man myself so you can discount my comments accordingly, but… I was a trackman on the C&O Cincinnati to St. Louis line for about a month back in the summer of… think it was 74, we were replacing ties around Tunnelton and Ft. Ritner, Indiana. You can break a sweat doing that.

    And any real Who fan would recognize “Ivor, the Engine Driver.”

    Dunno about 4501, our engine yesterday was 2004. Don’t know enough about em to describe it any further, it said “GATX Locomotive Group” down the side if that means anything.

    Dave, are you familiar with Norman Blake’s music? He does a lot of train-related songs… here’s one to start on:


    and another with more train content:


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  92. Mark P said on April 1, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Dave, I guess “run a train” is a term of art. In the non-railroading world that usage might be confused with doing other things.

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